Teachers are one group of people who really need support and creative nourishment.
As a former teacher, I can tell you that it can take WEEKS of mostly laying low, reading and resting to regenerate energy to step up to the plate for the next term. Anything we can do as parents to help this process along is truly welcome and really, really appreciated. We don’t have to spend a lot of money (that is so not the point) but a few dollars (especially if money is pooled with other class parents) or an investment of our time
As parents, we all know how tough and draining it can be after a full-on day with our own tribes. Imagine this 10-fold and there we have some idea of what a NORMAL day in the life of a teacher can be like, no matter how wonderful and well behaved the children in the class.
Being with children demands our full attention, and this is what zaps us…
But luckily, there are many ways to regenerate and rejuvenate!
You might like to make use of these ideas too!
1. A gift of a game. Whether it be a handmade ‘fishing game’ (as shown above, made by the lovely Nikki and Mia from Toadstool House), a pack of cards or UNO, or finding a child-friendly version of monopoly, teachers love a stash of creative ‘time-fillers’. In the holiday time, these things can also be taken home and played with by the teacher’s own children, inadvertently gifting him or her the blessing of uninterrupted time!
2. A packet of bulbs planted in a clay pot is a delightful way to ‘sow the seed’ of the potential of the new year and will help to brighten the darkest day come Spring!
3. Help the teacher to save time, money and a trip to the shops by creating a set of 10 or 20 blank hand- made stamped cards- a couple for each occasion. Birthdays, Thank you’s, Blessings, Get well soon, Wedding or Engagement congratulations, New baby or moving house cards will never go astray.
3. Pick up a small recipe collection book and in your best handwriting, write out your favourite family meals. You might like to add a photo of the end result, especially if your children have helped to make one of the recipes at some stage. Teachers appreciate tried and true, quick nutritious meals for their own families and will be in life long gratitude to you for shortcutting the process for her/him.
4. Bundle up a stack of cooking equipment. Muffin pans, rolling pins, cookie cutters, patty cake pans in contemporary patterns, funky teatowels and steel tongs can be collected over the year when they go on sale. Pop them in a basket and you might just help the teacher to start a new hobby, or encourage a bit of Christmas baking with their own children.
5. Enliven the teacher’s desk with clean, new stationary. We all love a new notepad, a 5 pack of roller ball pens, bicycle or coathanger-shaped paperclips, love-heart sticky tape or a brand new pencil case.
New stationary is just heaven sent! And full of new-year potential!
6. Bundle up a skein of wool and a set of knitting needles/crochet hook. Photocopy a few of your favourite simple patterns- a winter or summer scarf or a simple toy is a good place to start- and offer to give her/him a lesson after school one day. Hint: Op shops have jars full of barely used needles that with a polish can look just like new.
7. Bottle up your excess produce and deliver a bounty of treats. Lemon butter, pickled beetroots, jams, chutneys, strawberry ice-cream and apple sauces and bottled mint will help any teacher to make their Christmas day feast one to remember!
8. Fill a large bucket with a white fluffy towel, a voucher for a new sharp paring knife from the local kitchen shop and a few organic lemons and add a ‘how-to’ card detailing the procedure for a hot lemon foot bath. Lemon foot baths are renowned for helping stress-out, tired people to quickly gather their senses and ‘ground’ themselves in the present. The bitter astringent of the lemon helps to ‘shock’ the body-mind and through this process gently, and with the delicious aroma of sweet lemon in the air, help the person to bring all their scattered thoughts, feelings, emotions back into their ‘centre’. Even without the philosophy, a lemon foot bath is a lovely thing to do!
9. Gift your teacher a once-off membership to a class of some kind. Yoga, a holiday scrapbook or rubber stamping class, a clay pottery or weaving tutorial, a session at the gym or even an hour or two at the local tennis court with racket hire thrown in. An experience to remember!
10. One year, the families in my class bound together to purchase a full body salt scrub and day out at our local Japanese-inspired day spa! My assistant Monica and I spent 3 hours soaking in hot tubs under the Queensland summer sun and in the sauna, and for one delicious hour, whilst the other one was in being pampered, had the whole place to oneself! A fruity lunch with cold iced tea topped off our morning and we left feeling super refreshed and more than a little grateful to our favourite parents ever!! (You know who you are!!)
11. Join forces to buy tickets to a concert, play, festival or Gold class movies. Experiences are everything! Children are masters of finding out those intricate details, such as the teachers favourite music or actor or type of film.
12. Organise a lunch for them and a friend/husband at a local teahouse. All they have to do is choose the date that suits. A ‘high tea’ at a lovely location, with platters of scones, jam, cream, mini sandwiches and a delectable selection of bite-sized treats is decadent.
13. One really cool gift is a signed copy of a favourite CD or a poster that can be framed. Many famous or talented individuals are more than happy to help out when it comes to surprising a ‘teacher’. Why not write and ask?
14. Give of your time. An hour or three to help the teacher to pack up the classroom, to decorate a noticeboard artistically, or to create art packs for each child can be a gift that keeps on giving. Nominate one hour a week or fortnight and commit to turning up to the classroom for one term or even one year. This is a gift the teacher will never forget!
15. Make a set of jewelry in the teacher’s favourite colours. Most craft shops have jewelry or beading sets that can be mastered by even a beginner. Plain wooden bangles can be bought for less than $5 and can be creatively embellished by you and your children- decoupage style, wrapping them in rags of colourful material or painting them- the only limit is your imagination
16. Let your children help to bake a ‘goodie box’. Choose products with a longer shelf life, such as coconut ice, white Christmas, rocky road, shortbread or mini christmas cakes and lay them out in a clear-fronted box for instant appreciation. Children can help to wrap the box in baker’s twine and a little notecard or go the whole hog with a handmade card.
Do you have any GOOD IDEAS for teacher gifts? I’d love to hear about them. Share them here!